What is the best Nikon 35mm Body?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by ted_smith, Nov 22, 2006.

  1. ted_smith

    ted_smith TPF Noob!

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    I am currently just a 35mm film photographer (keen amateur) using a basic F65 Nikon body with a couple of good quality Nikon lenses (the 60mm Nikon Macro being the most recent).

    I keep wanting to venture into the digital side, if for no other reason than the sheer convenience. However, they are always just a bit too expensive for me. The D200 for example looks great but it's about £800 for the body. I might consider a second hand D70 as I can pick those up now for about £250, but when I look at that compared to the D80 or D200 it saddens me.

    However, I'm aware that with digital, you pay a lot for the body because the body has to be so good - it has a lot of things to do - more than a film body. Whereas with film, it's more the lenses and the film itself that are of significance (as Big_Mike illustrated to me).

    So my question is this - if I wanted to buy a more professional 35mm film body (second hand or otherwise) which one would people suggest I buy? I realise Nikon no longer manufacture film bodies so it would have to be second hand. But what is the best film body that Nikon produced and which would people have bought back in say 2002 or 2001 (whenever it was that Nikon stopped making film bodies)?

    Thanks a lot

    Ted
     
  2. ted_smith

    ted_smith TPF Noob!

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    Found the answer - the Nikon F6. To my surprise, costs about £1000 even on eBay! Surely, that would make it one of the best cameras in the world, other than Hasalblads etc? For it to be so much more expensive that today's leading digital bodies?

    And they stopped manufacturing the film bodies more recently than I thought : http://www.nppa.org/news_and_events/news/2006/01/nikon.html

    And so can I rephrase my question.....if I wanted to buy a more professional 35mm film body (second hand or otherwise) which one would people suggest I buy if there budget was in the price range of say £200-£300 pounds (that's about $500-600 USD)?

    Ted
     
  3. fmw

    fmw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You can buy a used F5 for that amount or an F100 for perhaps half of that.
     
  4. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    The price of the F6 is not so surprising when you look at the list of features and the materials used in its construction.

    What exactly are you looking for in the camera body? Do you really need a genuinely professional camera? You could easily get an F80 for less than your budget, and it would be a significant step up from the F65. Best thing to do is consider what the F65 lacks, what features you want in the new camera, and then look to see which models offer that.
     
  5. jwkwd

    jwkwd TPF Noob!

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    Bought back in '01 or '02? IMHO, F3hp. The closest second, again in my opinion would be the F2as. Personally, I would still buy an F2 in great condition over any other. Why? No batteries required, parts are easy to get if needed and they are just tough, heavy die-hard cameras that work when you need them to. The F3's are the same way, however they are a bit lighter, but with the same variety of accessories and aperature priority. For $500-600U.S. you could find almost anything. F5 ( body only ), F4's / with maybe a lens or two. Probably a good F3 package with motor, flash and lens or two. Certainly an F100 package, which might be on the higher side of the money.
     
  6. selmerdave

    selmerdave TPF Noob!

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    It's worth noting that "the best film body that Nikon produced" will not give you any difference in image quality compared to your F65. The differences between bodies are features, feel and durability. IMHO something like the F6 is a *lot* of features that you're paying for, and obviously if you need matrix metering at 5fps with fast auto-focus you might need something like that. But if that is not what you need, the F6 might be a bit of a waste of money. You can't go wrong in terms of quality with any of the "F" (ie. F, F2, F3, F4, F5, F6) cameras, so I'd think about what features you really need and buy the one that fits that.

    Dave
     
  7. airgunr

    airgunr TPF Noob!

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    My suggestions would be either the F5 or F6 (I like the F5) for full auto everything. If your looking for a all manual backup body I like the FM2n.

    Both will work with all the AF lenses except the DX versions (vigneting) and the Fm2n will not work with the "G" series.
     
  8. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    I agree that you should ask yourself if you really need to upgrade. What's specifically is lacking? An upgrade won't make you a better photographer. I know it's tempting to buy new equipment "to shake things up", but that rarely works. Practice is what it takes unless you need something specific, and even then it only opens up possibilities. About the only thing you get instant image improvements with is getting better glass.

    For me, it was the vertical grip and custom function 4 that made compelling reasons to go from the Canon Elan to the EOS 5. The faster shutter also helped on bright days, since I like to shoot with wide apertures. All of that didn't change my shots, but it made what I was already doing easier.
     
  9. Tiberius

    Tiberius TPF Noob!

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    Note that the F6 has the same (absolutely stunning) autofocus system used in the $4000 D2X. As well, its body is incredibly well-constructed - you could probably drop the thing off a cliff and have it survive. For the attention to detail that the camera has, its pricetag isn't really that steep at all.
     
  10. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    And yet not dropping your camera off a cliff in the first place costs nothing :D

    The F6 is undoubtedly wonderful and if I won the lottery I'd certainly be getting one. But as a keen amateur I'm not sure you need that much camera - in fact a whole lot of professionals don't need that much camera. If your photography is done in a warzone or hanging upside down from a plane (in other words situations where it's likely to get seriously dropped, slammed or hit) then maybe you need an F6. The F100 is an incredible camera for a lot less, and will be better in pretty much every way than the F65. Of course if you have a few thousand to spare then why not get the best, but since you mentioned the expense of digital SLR bodies I'm guessing that's not the case. The price difference between an F100 or F6 is a lot. The price difference between an F100 and an F5 (both second-hand) is less, and an F5 will give you 8fps versus the F100's 5fps, more advanced metering, mirror lock-up, and vertical grip as standard rather than an optional attachment. If you know that those are things you require then an F5 is obviously worth the extra expense. You may be able to get an F100 within your budget, an F5 will be over your budget but possibly not by too much (depending on condition in both cases), and an F6 as you pointed out costs about 3 times your budget... some price difference, and money which could be put on some fine Nikkor glass instead.

    Returning to what you said about the digital SLRs, a D70s could be found for not much more than your budget... it definitely shouldn't sadden you, it's a great camera. Lots of control and produces great images. Obviously the D80 is better in significant ways (larger buffer, vertical grip available, pentaprism viewfinder, more advanced AF, just for a start) but the D70s is still very very good.
     
  11. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    I have not had the newer F-5 or F-6 but I did own an F-4s for years. HEAVY!
    I now have an f-100 and I have not had one single problem with it ever! It is about 7 years old. And I would guess 7,000 pictures on it. Very good camera! I have no intentions at all about selling it. Will have it till it dies. And when it does, it will sit on the shelf with some of my others that are seldom used. Very good investment I believe.
     
  12. DocFrankenstein

    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    F6 is a heavy monster. While it has value, I'd rather have something smaller, lighter and maybe even plastic if it saves weight.
     

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